** The Lord led me to this study recently and has taught me, through His Word and by the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, concerning how to identify whether or not Jezebel has infiltrated church leadership. I will say from the outset, however, that I don’t subscribe to most of what is taught in Charismatic circles on this topic. In fact, I didn’t consult any other ministry on my own writing; I went to the Word of God alone and the Spirit of God was my Teacher in what I write here. You won’t find anything in this article where I wrote anyone except Scripture alone. **
** I want to say from the outset that while I refer here to Jezebel as a female, this cunning devil can manifest itself in both females “and” males; Jezebel is not limited to a gender… Jezebel is an equal opportunist! Also, when you read my words below, don’t imagine a “foaming at the mouth” leader; rather picture a kind, gentle and often eloquent speaker; a person or persons who seem to have your best interests at heart. Jezebel works best when they have your trust; if they can gain your trust, the chance that you discern the spirit operating through them will be very difficult, if not impossible without the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit in the midst of Jezebel seeking to destroy you.**
In Revelation 2:20-23 we read these words of Jesus: “But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols.I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality. “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering,and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.”
Before we look deeper into the above passage, we need to understand who Jezebel was. Please take a moment to read the entire passage listed below as it will give us great insight into this woman, Jezebel:
1 Kings 21:1-16 “ Now there was a man named Naboth, from Jezreel, who owned a vineyard in Jezreel beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. One day Ahab said to Naboth, “Since your vineyard is so convenient to my palace, I would like to buy it to use as a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard in exchange, or if you prefer, I will pay you for it.” But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance that was passed down by my ancestors.” So Ahab went home angry and sullen because of Naboth’s answer. The king went to bed with his face to the wall and refused to eat! “What’s the matter?” his wife Jezebel asked him. “What’s made you so upset that you’re not eating?” “I asked Naboth to sell me his vineyard or trade it, but he refused!” Ahab told her. “Are you the king of Israel or not?” Jezebel demanded. “Get up and eat something, and don’t worry about it. I’ll get you Naboth’s vineyard!” So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent them to the elders and other leaders of the town where Naboth lived. In her letters she commanded: “Call the citizens together for a time of fasting, and give Naboth a place of honor. And then seat two scoundrels across from him who will accuse him of cursing God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.” So the elders and other town leaders followed the instructions Jezebel had written in the letters. They called for a fast and put Naboth at a prominent place before the people. Then the two scoundrels came and sat down across from him. And they accused Naboth before all the people, saying, “He cursed God and the king.” So he was dragged outside the town and stoned to death. The town leaders then sent word to Jezebel, “Naboth has been stoned to death.” When Jezebel heard the news, she said to Ahab, “You know the vineyard Naboth wouldn’t sell you? Well, you can have it now! He’s dead!” So Ahab immediately went down to the vineyard of Naboth to claim it.”
From the above passage in 1 Kings, we learn the following:
1- Naboth was a righteous man who owned a vineyard. A vineyard represents the ministry that God calls a person to, according to Matthew 20:1-16. In verse 1 of Matthew 20 we read: “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard”. The vineyard is ministry; the owner is the Lord; He calls whoever He wills into His vineyard to work. You, brothers and sisters, are called to ministry; each of us is! God wants to use YOU in His vineyard… and Jezebel wants to stop you!
2- Ahab represents one in authority. In the passage above, Ahab requests that the vineyard (ministry) of Naboth be given to him. Ahab promises a “better” vineyard (ministry) or even money (a payout to take it from you). You see, false authority will always offer you a “promotion” to a “better ministry” if you simply let go of what you’re called to do by God. If that fails, Ahab will buy your ministry (take it from you) in order to get rid of you in order to see you leave the church you were being used by God in. Ahab may be in authority but his authority is false. Perhaps at one time he was anointed by God but by aligning with Jezebel, as we will see, he became corrupt and now seeks to destroy genuine godly authority raised up by the Lord.
3- Naboth, being righteous, understood that the vineyard (ministry) was given to him by God as an inheritance; it was not to be put into the hands of another. When God gives you your calling… no man can take that from you! The Pastor, deacons, elders, etc are not called to do what God called “you” to do and they don’t have any authority to stop you from being used by God if you’re genuinely called to a particular ministry. Those who know the calling of God on their lives will never allow anyone with a Jezebel spirit to take it from them…period. If God calls you to it… God will see you through it! No devil in hell can stop you if God has called you!
4- Ahab, the authority over Naboth, became angry; he felt Naboth should have given him what was not his to have. False authority will always seek to first negotiate the removal of your vineyard (ministry) and if you refuse, the authority over you will then become angry at you for your obedience to the Lord. While Ahab was in fact in a position of authority, he used his position to promote false authority; an authority not given to him by God. False authority hates when you obey God because false authority knows that when you obey God that God will always lead you to disobey “them”! Ahab wants to be your god; he hates that you trust completely in the Lord… so he’ll attack you once your ministry conflicts with his own personal ambitions.
5- Now, enter Jezebel; the wife of Ahab. She sees his emotional disposition and then asks him why he’s angry and upset. Ahab confides in her concerning his desire for Naboth’s vineyad (ministry). Those with an Ahab spirit will always – in secret conversation – look for alliances to in order to steal another’s vineyard (ministry). Notice that through the entire scene, Jezebel is “in the background”; it looks like she’s submitted to Ahab… but in reality, Ahab is submitted to her! In the eyes of the people she’s a humble, soft and gentle woman; behind closed doors, she controls the king!
6- Jezebel then instills a false sense of identity in Ahab, reminding him that he’s the king of Israel. Forget that Ahab had no God given authority to take another man’s vineyard… Jezebel implied that because he’s the authority that he can do whatever he wants to. She then tells him that she herself will get Naboth’s vineyard (ministry). Jezebel will always embolden weak leaders into pride; she will plant within them a sense of false assurance that everyone must obey them without question. This is what Jezebel does; she operates through weak leaders who she causes to believe are above questioning. Pride is what she instills in leaders and we know that pride comes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18).
7- Jezebel now plots to kill Naboth by publicly celebrating Naboth as a Man of God before the entire community! What a cunning devil this woman was! She sent party invites to the elders and leaders of Naboth’s town (local church) and does so in the king’s name. She instructs, “Call the citizens together for a time of fasting, and give Naboth a place of honor. And then seat two scoundrels across from him who will accuse him of cursing God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death”. The elders and leaders, getting a letter from the king, must have wondered “why” he wanted Naboth dead but notice they simply obeyed the order… without questioning it. Pause and think about that! Obedience to any authority that demands one kill another’s ministry, reputation, etc, is evil and God will hold to account any and all who obey false authority.
8- Notice also that within the instructions was a fast. Jezebel hid her evil intentions by calling for what appeared to be a godly command: Fasting! This cunning devil will use Biblical words, instructions, etc… but it’s agenda is to steal, kill and destroy… all by using the Word of God out of context to do it! Jezebel is a master manipulator and an expert at controlling others. She’ll appear as though she’s offering you freedom but the moment you submit to her, you’ll be in bondage and not know it! She’ll mix into the Word her own agenda and will find Biblical passages that she’ll twist in order to “prove” that she’s “hearing from God”. Jezebel is a wicked abominable devil indeed and she operates through leaders and/or is close enough to leaders to influence them. Once she has a leader, the leader then takes her spirit and imparts it to the congregation.
9 – Two scoundrels (false witnesses) who worked for the elders and leaders accused Naboth at his own celebration party of cursing God and the king. The townspeople (congregation) were spiritually blind and killed Naboth… in the middle of what was supposed to be a joyous occasion. Following false authority will ultimately cause the people of God to engage in conduct they believe is pleasing to the Lord but what is in reality of the devil. This is the seriousness of the danger of following false authority! Just because there’s an authority over you does “not” mean you need to obey that authority without question! If those over you are in error and deception… do not for any reason do as they demand; rebel against them because in doing so you’re submitting to the Lord!
10- Once Naboth was murdered, Jezebel informed king Ahab that he could now go and claim Naboth’s vineyard (ministry). This speaks to how false authority will always seek to destroy ministries that they themselves want or that they want quashed. They’ll conspire with other leaders, raise up false witnesses and finally kill the Naboth in their midst in order to take what was always Naboth’s. You see, brothers and sisters, false authority will always come against genuine godly authority! Why? Because false authority can’t thrive in the midst of true authority because true authority will always discern Jezebel!
This, brothers and sisters, is how Jezebel operates. She’s crafty and knows the Word; she speaks what appears to blessings over other leaders and ministries but inwardly she wants to take for herself that which God has not given to her. She will conspire against others by actually publicly praising and blessing them … just before she kills them!
This spirit is often hard to discern as it comes as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) and as a minister of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:15). Jezebel will preach righteousness so as to ensure that those around her believe she’s walking in truth; this is exactly how she works in a church congregation.
Note also she has access to the king’s chamber; this indicates that Jezebel close enough to the king to influence his decisions. So close in fact, when we see Jezebel in 1 Kings 21, she’s the wife of the king; you can’t get any closer than that! Often, husbands and wives or Pastors and other leaders will have meetings… not to pray and fast and seek God’s Will…. but to speak about how “so and so” needs to be corrected, told to remain silent, get ex-communicated, etc. Jezebel loves having “leadership meetings” that consist of checking off the names of congregation members who they feel may be a threat to their hold on power.
As we’ve just seen who and how Jezebel works… let us now go back to our passage in Revelation 2:
“But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality. “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering,and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.”
1- Notice that Jesus says the local church is “permitting” Jezebel to lead God’s people the wrong way. Elders who allow anyone in their congregation to lead God’s people astray will soon find the Holy Spirit bringing firm correction to them. It’s up to the elders and leaders to heed what God is speaking to them or not. If a church allows Jezebel to operate, that church will experience two things: First, godly men and women will begin to leave the fellowship in search of a godly church and second, the church will become a place where there’s carnality, flesh on display and a host of problems that only seem to get bigger and bigger and bigger. Tolerating a Jezebel spirit in a church will ultimately destroy the church!
2- Notice that Jezebel is a teacher who “also” calls herself a prophet; she has a place of authority in this church and as she calls “herself” a prophet – God has not called her a prophet! – she has prophetic giftings which the undiscerning eat up like candy. She’s teaching things in this particular church that Jesus Christ absolutely hates. In our modern times, Jezebel may be teaching things such as false grace, cessasionism, unquestioned submission to their pastor, etc. Whatever the case, Jezebel is a teacher… and teaches what Jesus Christ absolute despises.
3- Jesus gives time for Jezebel to repent. This indicates that Jezebel knows what she’s doing; otherwise how could she repent? Someone must have come to the woman in this church at some point – most likely several times! – to warn her of God’s judgment against what she’s engaged in: False teaching that Jesus hates. Even though Jezebel is the enemy of God, He gives her time to turn from sin and walk in truth. The goodness of God leads us to repentance… and even Jezebel gets an opportunity to repent.
4- Her sin, according to the passage, is immorality. Jezebel taught what was not moral before God. In modern times this can be a variety of things and yet Jezebel will “always” present what she’s teaching and engaging in as God’s Will. She may even use dreams, visions and prophecies to back up what she’s teaching. Nonetheless, Jesus calls Jezebel “immoral”; this indicates that while others see her as morally pure – afterall, she was a leader in the church! – Jesus sees her as immoral! Those who carry a Jezebel spirit are often soft-spoken diplomats; they appear outwardly to want to unity but inwardly they despise any and all who don’t fall in line with their agenda. Jezebel is immoral; she outwardly appears moral but inwardly she’s full of dead men’s bones as she’s the one who’s killed them all!
5- Jesus then says that Jezebel will be thrown onto a “bed of suffering”. Those who carry this wretched spirit will begin to experience suffering… and they’ll claim that “satan is attacking them” when in reality the Lord is bringing judgment upon them for their immoral teachings and for leading God’s People astray. Not all suffering, as we see here, is due to sin or satan; Jezebel suffers due to her refusal to repent and that suffering is sent by the Lord Jesus Himself! Jezebel will often claim that “satan is attacking” her and any and all who speak against her false authority will be deemed as “accusers of the brethren”. Jezebel claims that her suffering is due to her stand for truth when in reality it’s due to her immorality.
6- Notice that Jesus declares judgment against all who “commit adultery” with her will suffer greatly; this indicates that those who follow Jezebel in a local assembly will also incur the judgment of God for submitting to any and all who carry the characteristics of Jezebel unless they repent. Thus, some in churches who follow and submit to those who display the Jezebel spirit also know what they are doing and yet they continue to do it. They know to repent… which shows us they have knowledge that Jezebel is in error and that they shouldn’t follow her.
7- Notice in the passage it says “from HER evil deeds”. The local church was called on by Jesus to repent of following “her” evil deeds. Jesus saw what the church was doing as a direct result of what Jezebel was teaching. Jezebel – an authority in the local church – was seen by Jesus as the “mother figure” of the congregation. When any church has a leader who’s seen as “the” leader and is unquestioned and unchallenged… you have a Jezebel on your hands! When you’re not allowed to ask questions or need permission to; when you’re told never to question your leaders or when it’s implied you must never question them… you’re sitting under a Jezebel spirit!
8- Jesus then says He will strike “her children” dead. Jezebel has children, according to Jesus. These “children” are all who are under the authority of someone or a group of leaders who celebrate others and then destroy them through false teaching and evil conduct. Any and all who discern a Jezebel in their leadership and yet continue to follow such people are the children of Jezebel. Jesus Christ the Lord declares that those who are born of Jezebel will die. What does this mean? It means such people, who may have once known the Lord, will die spiritually.
9- Jesus Christ then says that He will do all of this as an example to all other churches to know that He doesn’t play games when it comes to His Church; that He won’t spare anyone who permits Jezebel to hold a place of authority in their local congregation. Jesus Christ loves His Church; He won’t tolerate Jezebel destroying His Body; a time will come when He will so severely, openly and publicly judge Jezebel and her children that those who see it will fear and think hard and long about walking in the spirit of Jezebel or submitting to leaders who carry the Jezebel spirit.
10- Jesus concludes by saying that he will give to each person in that congregation exactly what they deserve and by what he previously said… it’s judgment. What a frightening thought to be under the judgment of God while believing oneself to be under His blessing! Every person, individually, who has submitted themselves to the Jezebel spirit will “get what they deserve”. That’s a scary thought, brothers and sisters! Jezebel (leaders who operate under this demonic spirit) will also get what they too deserve. Jesus doesn’t mince words here; judgement is coming!
How then can one be assured freedom from following elders and leaders who walk in the characteristics of Jezebel?
1- Have a consistent life of prayer and fasting; only in seeking God’s face for yourself will you be assured of complete and total deliverance from deceptive people, including deceptive elders and leaders. (1 Thessalonians 5:17 )
2- Know the Word of God! Remember, Jezebel knows the Word and twists it to destroy others! If you know the Word of God, you’ll recognize Jezebel when she appears and you won’t be taken in by her. (Psalm 119:11)
3- Do not sin! Stay away from sin … because sin will kill you and thus you’ll have no discernment into what is truly of God and what’s of the enemy. (Romans 7:11)
4- Humble yourself daily and moment by moment; those who walk in humility attract the Presence and Power of God. Humility to the Lord is a beautiful fragrance! (Obadiah 1:3)
5- Be a lover of truth and never ever tell lies! Those who don’t love the truth or only love it partially and who tell lies… they’ll be snared by Jezebel’s false giftings and will thus be deceived! (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)
If you recognize the characteristics of Jezebel in your church or or in it’s leadership, you must do the following:
1- Seek God for your leaders; He knows why they’re permitting Jezebel to teach and have authority. Only He can bring about true and lasting change to any church or leadership who finds itself with a Jezebel in it’s midst.
2- Lovingly bring up this issue to the leadership. It may be received and it may not be; nonetheless, Jezebel must be exposed and confronted. Do so with great humility, without any anger or an attitude that everyone is deceived except you.
3- If no change is forthcoming and leadership continues walking in false authority, leave the congregation. The Lord does not call us to stay in an assembly where the People of God are being led astray. The Holy Spirit will lead you, guide you and ensure you’re safe from Jezebel’s stranglehold; He’ll place you in a loving, caring and genuine community where Jezebel is not permitted to rule with false authority.
In closing, my prayer is that this teaching, which the Lord taught me with through His Word, will bless you, encourage you and even challenge you – not to “look for Jezebel” – but rather to invite the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart if a Jezebel ever rises up unnoticed in your local assembly; that you would trust God to reveal it to you and to then safeguard you from this devil that seeks to control you, manipulate you and ultimately destroy you.
Click HERE for part 2